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How To Get a High Score in IELTS Reading?

Dreaming to pursue your further education abroad? You just cannot ignore the importance of IELTS for studying abroad.

Cracking a top score in IELTS reading can be quite a challenge. But, if you do it right, nothing is impossible! If you are thinking about how to proceed ahead and get this in your favor, then you have landed on the right page. We are here to help you with all the necessary guidance you need to score exceptionally well in IELTS reading.

The IELTS exam is an internationally recognized English proficiency test. It is required for higher education opportunities worldwide. Among its core sections, the reading test evaluates comprehension through varied academic and general materials. Achieving a band score suited to individual study plans demands targeted practice. Here in this post, we explore IELTS reading intricacies, tips, and techniques to boost capabilities aligned to acing the paper.

Tips To Boost Your IELTS Reading Score

IELTS reading is a comprehension-based test that requires test takers to answer questions based on reading passages within a strict time limit. Achieving a high score is crucial for study and work opportunities abroad. This article provides tips and strategies to maximize reading performance through careful preparation and practice. Knowing the right techniques is crucial for success in the IELTS reading test. Careful preparation and practice of some key strategies can help boost scores.

1. Know the Test

Before embarking upon focused practice, candidates must thoroughly understand various elements of the IELTS reading test like its format, question types, timing, scoring rubrics etc. This provides vital context for self-study. Knowing what to expect helps alleviate pre-exam stress. Once familiar with the evaluation methods and standards, test-takers can work more calmly towards achieving targeted section scores within the permitted 60 minutes per section. Overall, understanding the dynamics of the exam leads to optimized preparation and performance.

Know the Format and Scoring Criteria 

Now that you are clear on the importance of IELTS for studying abroad, it’s time to dig deep and understand what comes with it. Knowing all about the exam can make things easy for you to proceed. It can help you plan and focus on the essential aspects that can assist you in being ready. To make it easy, below we specify all the aspects of the IELTS exam.  

Test Format

The reading test contains 3 long passages and 40 questions. Passages range from descriptive to discursive and cover topics like arts, education, science etc.

Question Types

Questions include multiple choice, identifying information, matching, sentence completion, and summary.

Scoring Criteria

Scores are given on a 9-band scale based on accuracy. Partial scores can result in a demotion of 0.5 bands.

Timing and Structure

Read carefully as moving on before attempting all questions can impact the score. Leave 10 minutes at the end for revision.

Hopefully, you are clear about what makes an IELTS exam. It is important that you prepare for it keeping all of it in mind. But, to be fully ready, you need a good amount of time in hand for preparation. The section below covers all in terms of how much time you need to get IELTS-ready. Dive in.

2. Practice makes Perfect

While casual reading alone is sufficient, regular simulated tests replicating real exam conditions are invaluable. To gauge individual progress accurately, sample papers must be attempted under similar time pressure without breaks as in the actual test hall. Evaluating answers and common mistakes extends learning. Reviewing notes between practices identifies lingering weaknesses for extra revision. Consistency in such rigorous yet focused preparations helps ingrain essential reading strategies and skills to overcome fears of unknown text difficulty in a live exam setting.

3. Develop Your Reading Techniques

Specialist rapid comprehension techniques allow candidates to maximize limited reading times. Simple methods like skimming and scanning enormously boost pace without compromising accuracy. Skimming involves racing through a passage noting only the key highlights presented in titles and introductory sentences. Scanning targets finding specific words or details using clues like signposting words to directly locate required information instead of rereading the entire content unnecessarily. Together, these specialized yet high-yield strategies ensure no part remains untouched while freeing up valuable minutes.

4. Focus on Keywords

Each multiple-choice or yes-no-not given question highlights particular prefixes, directing attention to the precise information assessors seek. Candidates must train themselves to actively identify and mark these interrogative words present in questions rather than confusingly process the entire passage. Directly searching for just the expected content through keyword spotting prevents wasting efforts on confusing peripheral details and increases chances of correct understanding and response.

5. Follow Instructions Carefully

Rigorously adhering to given rubrics determines if test-takers meet set benchmarks or attract negative scoring. Instead of personal interpretations, candidates must condition themselves through practice to accurately follow each instruction precisely as worded. Complying with exact phrasings of tasks like markings, summary or sentence completion prevents deductions from an otherwise fully correct response. Overall, detailed preparations using such key strategies boost IELTS reading abilities multifold.

6. Make the most of your time!

Practice segregates content by difficulty adjusting speed. Leave uncomplicated parts swifter devoting greater effort into intricacies to complete on schedule avoiding last-minute rushed mistakes. Strategize time judiciously.

Hopefully, you are clear with the essential tips to crack the top IELTS reading score. But, this is not it. There are many more things that you must keep in mind while getting ready for the same. To make it clear, below we discuss the do’s and don’ts for you to keep in check.

IELTS Reading: Do’s and Don’ts

Explore all do’s and don’ts for you to keep in mind while you prepare for the IELTS below.


  • Underline important details for revision.
  • Mark passages containing answers.
  • Refer back to questions when stuck.
  • Highlight keywords within questions.
  • Leave complex sections for later.


  • Reread everything instead of using techniques.
  • Answer out of sequence.
  • Change responses without solid reasons.
  • Guess answers under time pressure.
  • Focus too much on difficult parts early on.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you are clear about the importance of IELTS for studying abroad and how you can crack the top score. A dedicated practice customizes strengths and weaknesses and eventually helps you be fully ready for the exam. Also, taking sample tests helps you identify recurring errors that can be addressed methodically. Being prepared helps you remain and that boosts confidence in handling all the situations wisely during the test. So, studying smartly through strategic preparations equips test-takers with winning reading techniques. This results in the form of higher scores upon the D-day. Get armed with these proven techniques and success awaits! Good luck!


Q1. How can I improve my reading section in IELTS?

The best way to enhance your reading performance in the IELTS exam is to practice regularly under timed conditions. You also need to develop fast comprehension skills through skimming and scanning. Ensure to focus on keywords and, most importantly, analyze mistakes to improve continuously. All these aspects can help you enhance your reading section in IELTS

Q2. Why is IELTS reading difficult?

There are many reasons that make IELTS reading challenging. 

  1. Firstly, you have to read swiftly under pressure. 
  2. Secondly, you have to comprehend complex materials and answer different question types accurately. 
  3. Lastly, it comes with strict timing that makes the IELTS reading challenging.

Q3. How can I avoid mistakes in reading IELTS?

Take a look at the tips below that can help you avoid mistakes in reading IELTS:

  1. Carefully read instructions,
  2. Selectively underline important details, 
  3. Allocate the right timing to each section, 
  4. Also, ensure answering question numbers in sequence 
  5. And, leave a few minutes to review responses for corrections. 

This shows how planning is the key to success.


Maninder Kaur is a technically-astute Verbal Trainer with 7 years of teaching experience in IELTS and PTE. Ms. Kaur is a Pearson and British Council-trained professional with expertise in working with diverse groups. As a Linguistic Expert, she supports students in achieving personalized linguistic goals within desired timeframes. Ms. Kaur prepares students to take official exams and ensures a high success rate.